New research has revealed that five different types of prostate cancer exist. How will this discovery change the outlook of prostate cancer screening? World renowned robotic prostate cancer surgeon, Dr. David Samadi, evaluates.
"Discovering five different types of the disease could change how they're distinguished from one another and may even mean different treatments for each, targeted to the individual patient," said Dr. Samadi, Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Researchers analyzed 259 men with prostate cancer. Among the group of participants, 482 tumor, benign and germline samples were looked at. The researchers analyzed the samples and looked for genetic differences that made it so the researchers could categorize the study participants into groups regarding targeted treatments specific to their prostate cancer.
What they found was more than minimal differences among the tumors. They concluded that five different types of prostate cancer were found based on 100 genes. These genes demonstrated the risk of the disease progression, which was more accurate than the currently used Gleason score test and PSA test.
Prior research had shown six of the genes were linked to prostate cancer, however researchers noted in the published study that it turns out the other 94 genes had not been associated with prostate cancer until now.
"If five types of the disease exist, how does this change popular medical opinion on prostate cancer screening? This may mean that each type of the disease needs its own approach to screening, diagnosis, treatment and even recurrence," noted Dr. Samadi.
While the findings need further research, larger clinical trials could give better information on individualized treatment for each prostate cancer type. This could lead to a better quality of life and more effective treatment based on which prostate cancer a man is diagnosed with.
Prostate Cancer Key Statistics:
- Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of death among men.
- Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.
- About 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- Prostate cancer mainly occurs in older men; about 6 in 10 cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older. It is much rarer for men younger than 40 years old to develop prostate cancer.
- The average age of diagnosis is about 66 years old.
- In 2015, it is estimated that there will be more than 27,500 deaths from prostate cancer.
The researchers said the analysis in their study is better at forecasting how prostate cancer will advance compared to the current diagnostic tests being used for prostate cancer such as the prostate specific antigen test and the Gleason score.
"These findings could lead to more optimized diagnostic testing on all aspects of the prostate cancer diagnosis process and brings full circle the coming approach to cancer being an individual disease based very much on the patient's individual genetic profile," said Dr. Samadi.